SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State women's basketball team continues their tour through Montana as they head from Missoula to Bozeman to take on the Montana State Bobcats on Saturday, Jan. 13. Tip off is scheduled for 1:05 pm PT. Both teams enter the game having lost multiple games in a row and both are eager to snap their losing streak tomorrow.
How To Watch
Saturday's afternoon game at Montana State can be seen live online at watchbigsky.com. The game will also be available in audio-only format at msubobcats.com/watch. As always, live stats are available online at hornetstats.com.
The Starting Five
- Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas recorded a career-best six blocks in Thursday night's game against Montana. Previously, the sophomore owned a career record of three blocks in the same game, something she has done four times in her career.
- Sophomore guard Hannah Friend is averaging 19.3 points per game, the 49th best mark in NCAA Div. I and the 5th best in the Big Sky Conference. She is one of two Big Sky players with two or more 30-piint performances this season.
- Senior guard Maranne Johnson dished out a team-leading nine assists in Sacramento State's last game. This season, she is averaging 3.3 assists per game, well above her career average of 1.7.
- Sacramento State committed just 10 turnovers in their last game against Montana, their fifth lowest total of the season. Those 13 turnovers still turned into 18 Montana points, compared to the Hornets' four points off turnovers.
- The Montana State Bobcats enter Thursday's game with a 8-8 record (2-3 Big Sky). They are coming off three straight conference losses, including one at home. They average 63.8 points per game.
By The Numbers
6: The number of blocks by Kennedy Nicholas against Montana on Thursday, a new career-high.
11: The average difference in Sacramento State's last four games against Montana State, all losses.
27: National ranking for Sacramento State among all NCAA Div. I teams for three-pointers made per game (8.9).
Scouting Montana State
Montana State enters Saturday's game with an 8-8 record, including 2-3 in the Big Sky Conference. They opened Big Sky play with back-to-back wins against Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, although since then they have dropped their last three, falling to Northern Colorado, North Dakota, and Portland State. At home, the Bobcats are 2-1 in Conference play and 6-1 overall. As a team, the Bobcats are averaging 63.8 points per game while holding their opponents to just 62.9. Their defense has been excellent and they rank third in scoring defense and third in blocked shots in the Big Sky. Blaire Braxton leads the Montana State squad with 21 blocks for the year, though her teammates Laura Pranger (18) and Oliana Squires (17) are not far behind. Offensively, Hannah Caudill paces the Bobcats with 12.4 points per game. Madeline Smith nearly average a double-double with 11.3 points and a team-leading 9.1 rebounds per game. At the helm for Montana State is Tricia Binford, now in her 13th season as head coach for the Bobcats.
About Last Game
Sacramento State took on the Montana Lady Griz Thursday night at Montana and found themselves trailing big early after putting up just eight points in the first quarter. They continued to battle back, however, and, despite trailing by 20 at the half, managed to cut that deficit to just nine last in the game. Unfortunately, that was as close as things got for the Hornets, who fell 68-59 to the Lady Griz, Tiara Scott led the scoring for Sacramento State, putting up 17 points despite only taking six shots. She was 3-for-6 (2-for-5 from three) and went 5-for-6 at the free throw line. Maranne Johnson and Hannah Friend also broke double digits, scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively, while also pulling in nine and seven rebounds each. No one else had more than four points in the loss. Johnson also had five assists, the most for the Hornets.
Against Montana State
- The Hornets are 11-33 against Montana State since the start of the 1996-97 season, including just 4-17 on the road at MSU.
- Montana Stat has won the last four straight contests between these two teams - two in the Nest and two in Bozeman. Sacramento State's last win came during the 2014-15 season.
- The teams faced each other twice last season, with Sacramento falling 104-82 (at home) and 84-80 (at Montana State.)
- Sacramento State has not won at Montana State since 2012-13, a 69-65 victory.
Big Sky Breakdown
- The Sacramento State women's basketball team is one of four teams with just one win so far this season (also Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, North Dakota).
- The Big Sky no longer has any undefeated teams as Northern Colorado took their first loss Thursday at Weber State. Northern Colorado, Montana, Weber State, and Portland State all only have one loss.
- Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas set a new career-high with six blocks Thursday night against Montana. Previously, the Washington native had collected three blocks in a single game multiple times, including twice this season.
- She was two shy of the Sacramento State program record for blocks in a conference game - 8, Kristine Knowlton, 1/30/2003 vs. Montana State.
- With the six blocks, Nicholas climbed to 21 blocks on the season, the fourth most in the Big Sky Conference and 137th across all NCAA Div. I programs. Similarly, her 1.4 blocked shots per game is fifth most in the Big Sky and 131st in NCAA Div. I.
The Hornets may only have three wins this season, but they are winning by an average of 25 points when they do. They defeated UC Riverside 99-72 (27 points), Antelope Valley 95-62 (33 points), and Idaho (79-64 (15 points).
Leaders Among Their Peers
- Maranne Johnson leads all Big Sky seniors with 2.8 steals per game.
- Hannah Friend leads all Big Sky sophomores with 19.3 points per game.
- Dana DeGraffenreid is tied for the Big Sky lead in steals among freshmen with 1.7 per game.
- Scott For Three
Sophomore point guard Tiara Scott went 3-for-7 from beyond the arc in Thursday night's game, moving her season totals to 14-for-42. Her .354 shooting percentage from three-points is the best on the team.
All Around Game
Senior guard Maranne Johnson, known for her long-range shooting ability, has found a way to step up other aspects of her game her senior year and is currently on pace for a new season-best in rebounds and assists per game. After averaging 3.6 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game through three seasons, Johnson is currently averaging 6.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists this year.
On the Road Again
After playing two conference games at home, the Hornets hit the road once again. Of the team's 15 games this season, 12 have taken place away from the Nest, including nine at opponents' home gyms and three at neutral sites. They are still looking for their first road win (0-9) and are 1-2 in neutral sites. Last season, the Hornets finished with a 4-8 record on the road and were winless (0-3) at neutral sites.
Sacramento State has endured more than their share of injuries through the first half of the season.
- Junior Raegen Rohn missed the team's first four games recovering from a wrist injury.
- Senior forward Kyhonta Doughty has been battling a knee injury all season and has missed four games while being limited in three others.
- Senior point guard Justyce Dawson missed two games and was limited in two more with a concussion.
- Freshman guard Dana DeGraffenreid has missed back-to-back games with a hip injury after starting the team's first 12 games.
- After playing just two games, freshman forward Tiana Johnson has been out all season with a leg injury.
A Sac State 30 for 30
Sophomore guard Hannah Friend is the one of two players in the Big Sky Conference to post two or more 30-point games this season. She scored 34 points on Nov. 26 vs. Riverside and 32 points on Dec. 6 vs. Antelope Valley. Idaho's Mikayla Ferenz has scored 30 or more four times this season.
Top-10 Watch: Points
Maranne Johnson is currently sixth all-time with 1,358 points for her career. She is just 80 points back of both Sarah Stapp and Fantasia Hillard, who are tied for fourth with 1,438 career points.
Top-10 Watch: Assists
Senior point guard Justyce Dawson is eighth for most career assists in Sacramento State women's basketball program history with 252. The senior point guard is two back of Terri Lugert (254, 1987-91).
Top-10 Watch: Steals
Maranne Johnson continues to close in on the Sacramento State women's hoops program record for career steals. With a season-high six steals in the Hornets' last game against Eastern Washington, Johnson now has 290 for her career, just 18 off the program mark of 308 (Fantasia Hilliard, 2011-15).
Breaking Big Sky Records
• Sacramento State senior Maranne Johnson is the all-time leading three-point scorer in Big Sky Conference history. She enters play Thursday with 261 career three-pointers. She moved past Montana State's Katie Bussey (2008-12) on Saturday, Dec. 30. Bussey owned the previous record with 254 career threes.
• Johnson is one of four Sacramento State players to own a Big Sky Conference career record. The other three are Hallie Gennett (Big Sky record 2.80 career 3-Pt FG average), Alle Moreno (Big Sky record 808 career 3-Pt FG attempts), and Kylie Kuhns (Big Sky record 1,234 career rebounds).
• Idaho's junior guard Taylor Pierce is second among active Big Sky players and third all-time with 241 made three-pointers.
-- HornetSports --